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Monday, September 2, 2019

2019.09.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 17:15-27

Questions from the Scripture text: Who gets a name change in Genesis 17:15? What does God promise to give to Abraham by her in Genesis 17:16? Of what does He promise to make her a mother? What is Abraham’s physical response in Genesis 17:17? What is his verbal response? What does Romans 4:19-21 tell us about his heart while he is doing this? What further request does Abraham make in Genesis 17:18? Whom does God insist upon making the son of promise, through whom the covenant will continue (Genesis 17:19)? What is Abraham to call the son of promise? How long will this covenant continue? Still, how does God respond in Genesis 17:20 to the request in verse 18? When will Sarah bear Isaac (Genesis 17:21)? What happens in Genesis 17:22? How does Abraham respond in Genesis 17:23? On what day? How old was Abraham (Genesis 17:24)? How old was Ishmael (Genesis 17:25)? What does Genesis 17:26 re-emphasize? Who else were circumcised on that day (Genesis 17:27)?
Some “scholars” think that this is the first time we learn that Sarai would be the mother of the promised Seed, but that was true as soon as the Seed was promised to Abram. The two had become one flesh. Just as Eve was the helper suitable to Adam, Sarai is the helper suitable to Abraham. One of God’s primary purposes for marriage was the bearing of godly seed (cf. Malachi 2:15).

So, a big part of this passage is the elevation of Sarai to be analogous to Abram. She too gets a name change—the only woman in the Bible to receive one. She too gets the promise of being one from whom nations come, and kings of peoples (cf. Genesis 17:5-6). Though under the headship of her husband and having a different role, she is presented as equal in value and significance (cf. 1 Timothy 2:11-15).

We need to recover a biblical understanding of the bearing of godly seed as an essential purpose of marriage, and the glory of the wife as covenant mother.

We also need to learn to rejoice like Abraham over God’s astonishing promises. Romans 4:9-22 makes it clear that Abraham’s laughter is not the laughter of unbelief, but the laughter of astonished praise.

And we would do well to imitate Abraham’s love for his son Ishmael. Abraham could easily have been taken up with the promise about Isaac. But Abraham asks that Ishmael, even though he is not the son of promise, would “walk before God”—the very language that the Lord had used for walking by faith at the beginning of the chapter. Would that all fathers would so love their children and urge God to save them!
Do you rejoice over God’s promises? For whose salvation are you praying?
Suggested Songs: ARP189 “Universal Praise” or TPH126A “When Zion’s Fortunes”

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